Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Kevin Ryan0
Bears Should Feel Good if Campbell is Needed
Kevin Ryan, Sports Editor
Photo above courtesy of sxc.hu.
It was just about a year ago when I wrote my column for this sports section stating Caleb Hanie was good enough to keep the starting quarterback spot warm for Cutler and lead the Bears to the playoffs.
Well, as we all found out, Hanie was not the right guy, and his play, along with the rest of the team, turned into a train wreck. But with Jason Campbell as the Bears No. 2 quarterback general manager Phil Emery is looking like one of the smartest guys in Chicago.
At the time Emery signed Campbell, some believed his one-year $3.5 million contract was a little too much for a backup quarterback. But will the price be right if Campbell is able to win one game? Or possibly two? It definitely will be, but what Campbell has going in his favor that Hanie didn’t have is actual starting experience and more offensive weapons.
Fans shouldn’t look at Campbell as just a backup, because he has 70 career starts, and it was just last year when he led the Raiders to a 4-2 start before breaking his collarbone. He has a 32-39 career record, and if all goes right, he will not only have Brandon Marshall to throw to, but hopefully a healthy Alshon Jeffery. If Jeffery is able to play, it should balance out the passing game as Marshall has been the main target since Alshon went down with his broken hand.
There is also the one-two punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Since Marshall has arrived, Forte hasn’t touched the ball nearly as much as he did last year, and Bush is only averaging 8.8 carries a game. Right now, I have all the confidence in the world in the Bears if they needed to rely on their running game to beat the 49ers. Some might have thought the same thing last year when the Bears had Forte and Marion Barber, but I’m assuming that unlike Barber, Bush actually knows the plays and when to get out of bounds when the clock is running.
Another thing Campbell is trying to do is prove to other general managers that he is still a starting quarterback in the NFL. Being only 30 years old and signing a one-year contract with the Bears, Campbell is free to hit the open market and sign with another team. Those two reasons alone should allow him to have plenty of fuel left in his tank.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: Campbell also has the No. 4 ranked defense protecting the Bears end zone. Last year, when Cutler went down, the defense let up 23 points per game, and with the way this year’s defense is playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if Campbell is able to get a win or two.
So, if Cutler is still suffering from that concussion, the Bears should make the smart decision and sit him. With all the information we have learned over the past two years about the brain injury, we not only need Jay to lead the Bears this season, but down the road as well, and Campbell has the experience to keep the spot warm for Jay.